News

16/12/2016

Translation FAQs

Why should I choose a professional translator over Google Translate?

Although automatic translation tools have made great strides in the past decade, any language professional will tell you that your company would be running a huge risk should it decide to translate its texts using a free, online translation tool (and not just because they want your business, either!). There are still significant linguistic and paralinguistic challenges that are yet to be solved in the realm of automatic translation, which generally cause the kinds of language errors that could potentially hurt your sales. If you want your customers to take you seriously – and more importantly, to purchase your products and services – you need to speak their language fluently and effectively.

For a more specific example of where all machine translation tools still go wrong, take a look at OTW’s analysis of three free online translation tools here.

How much does a translation cost?

Although we do have set rates, this is a little bit like asking “how long is a piece of string?”

The cost of a translation will depend on a variety of factors, such as:

-          the total word count

-          any pre-translation formatting or file conversions (such as scanned PDF > Word conversions)

-          whether the translation needs to be proofread or not (is the translation going to be published, used to sell a product or service, or is it for information or internal purposes only?)

-          images within the text that may need to be converted

In short, it depends. Translation is a professional service, not a commodity, so it’s difficult to value without seeing the source text. You don’t want to pay too little – as this can indicate a lack of quality or confidence – and you don’t want to pay too much, because ultimately, we all have budgets to stick to!

OTW’s expertise doesn’t just cover the technical side of legal, financial and corporate translation; we constantly strive for the highest level of quality, professionalism and accuracy. We are committed to helping you get the best quality translation possible within your budget – take a look at our tips to help you minimise translation costs, without losing out on quality.

How do I get a quote?

Easy. Send an email to traduction[at]overtheword.com

And of course, quotations are free.

What other services does OTW provide to its clients, apart from translation?

Over the Word offers a gamut of language-related services, including:

-          Proofreading by a second native speaking translator

-          Quality assurance by the project manager before delivery

-          Certification for official purposes

-          Client-specific translation memory software and glossaries

-          Handling of a variety of file types: Indesign, PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, etc.

Who will be translating my documents?

Either our in-house team of expert translators (our in-house teams cover French, English, Spanish, Italian, German and Czech), or our team of trusted freelancers, who are professional legal and financial translators.

Click here to find out more about our in-house team.

Our freelancers are specialists in their fields, originally working as lawyers or in finance, before setting their sights on translation. They are rigorously tested in their area of specialisation before being selected by OTW.

What can I do to make the translation process smoother?

-          Provide us with as much information as possible regarding the purpose of the translation. Like architects, copywriters, advertisers and journalists, translators work better when they have a strong brief. This enables them to provide clients and readers with the most suitable translation. For example, a translator can approach a marketing text in a variety of different ways, so it’s always helpful to know exactly what clients (and their customers) expect. Specifically, tell us who your target readers are. This could affect a number of aspects, such as spelling, terminology, register and tone.

-          Give translators enough time to do a high-quality job. Although translators are no strangers to urgent turnaround times and working through “crunch time”, they generally work at a pace of around 2,500 words per day. Try to keep this in mind. If the deadline is short, we may enlist two or three translators – who work in constant contact – to get the job done in time. Allowing sufficient time may have the additional benefit of keeping the job in-house, ensuring consistency by having your documents assigned to the same translation team every time and avoiding having to split the job between several translators, without there being enough time to harmonise the final product.

-          Edit your documents before sending them to the translator. Wherever possible, try to send us the finished version. Ensure that the text is accurate, in terms of content and grammar. Try to eliminate ambiguity – this can slow down the translation process, as translators will need to ask you to clarify your intended meaning. Good translators pay close attention to detail and try to eliminate guesswork.

-          Be consistent in your use of terminology.

-          Appoint one of your staff members to act as a single point of contact throughout the project, and make sure that this person is ready and able to answer any questions, especially regarding terminology, that may crop up during the work. This may save unnecessary delays and toing and froing after delivery to deal with these same questions.

How and when will I receive my translation?

Once we’ve agreed on a delivery time, you can be certain that you’ll receive your translated documents directly to your email address by this deadline. And of course, we’re always happy to answer any post-delivery questions you might have.

What’s the difference between UK and US English?

If you need a translation into English, you might be asked whether you require US English or UK English, the two most widely used varieties of English. For example, certain words are spelled differently, there are differences in vocabulary, and formatting of dates and times varies. When translating an automotive text for a major client, we were asked to translate into US English. This meant using words like “trunk” instead of “boot”, “truck” instead of “lorry”, “gasoline” instead of “petrol”, “hood” instead of “bonnet” - the list goes on! Native-speaking translators will choose the right words to suit your readers.

One thing to keep in mind is that even if you can’t tell the difference between US and UK English, your English-speaking customers will most likely notice. If you want your target readers to feel like you’re talking to them directly and not to a group of English speakers on the other side of the world, it’s best to speak their language.